The Concern Troll of the Southland

UPDATE BELOW: My letter to the intrepid journalist, and his oh, so redeeming reply.

This morning, Glenn Greenwald had an excellent post about the despicable fear-mongering ad Liz Cheney and Bill Kristol had slapped together to smear not just the Obama DOJ, but basically the entire tradition of western jurisprudence, the evenhandedness of which seems to offend vermin like them.  Watching the ad and considering its source, I didn’t really give it much more thought; surely such spurious McCarthyite smears have long passed their due date, and surely no non-Fox journalist would ever take them seriously.  Well, no they haven’t, and yes they would, and stop calling the Los Angeles Times Shirley.

Behold:
Reporting from Washington – Nine top political appointees at the Justice Department previously worked as lawyers or advocates for “enemy combatants” confined at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, prompting new questions from Congress and conservative critics about the integrity of the administration’s handling of detainees.

Ooh, sounds scary, and “new,” to boot.

The Justice Department insists that the officials have not involved themselves in matters dealing with enemy combatants. But the department has revealed the names of only two of the nine appointees, making it difficult to independently assess the claim. And one of the named officials — Jennifer Daskal, a lawyer in the national security division — sits on a task force weighing the future of Guantanamo prisoners. She is a former senior counsel for Human Rights Watch, which worked on behalf of ensuring constitutional rights for detainees during the George W. Bush presidency.

Since everybody knows that only people with a demonstrated desire to kill all Arabs indiscriminately should ever be allowed to work at the Justice (!) Department.

The other named official is Neal Katyal, the principal deputy solicitor general, who argued before the Supreme Court on behalf of Salim Ahmed Hamdan and won a 2006 ruling that Bush’s military tribunal system violated the rules of military justice and the Geneva Conventions. Hamdan, a former bodyguard and driver for Osama bin Laden, later was released and returned to Yemen.

According to congressional sources, one of the other seven appointees is Tony West, an assistant attorney general who heads the civil division. In 2002, he was part of the California-based legal team that represented John Walker Lindh, the so-called American Taliban.

I have a list of names, said the drunken sociopath from Wisconsin….

These kinds of backgrounds and connections “raise serious questions about who is providing advice on detainee matters,” a group of Republican senators told Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr. last week.

“Some say.”  Can you believe this?  Who?  Michelle Malkin?

One of the sharpest critics is a group called Keep America Safe, run in part by Liz Cheney, daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney. It has derided the unidentified appointees as the “Al Qaeda 7,” and in a video on its website Tuesday asked, “Whose values do they share?”

Ah, finally a disinterested observer willing to go on the record.  It gets worse, though, when the pussies at DOJ, instead of calling such fascist propaganda what it was and giving this un-American cabal a little needed history lesson, this lame capitulation comes forth:

In a Feb. 18 letter to the senators, Ronald Welch, an assistant attorney general, said five Justice Department lawyers provided legal counsel to detainees and four filed friend-of-the-court legal papers on behalf of detainees or advocated on their behalf. He identified them only as working in Holder’s office, for the deputy attorney general and in other top positions at the department.

“To the best of our knowledge,” Welch wrote, “during their employment prior to joining the government, only five of the lawyers who serve as political appointees represented detainees, and four others either contributed to amicus briefs in detainee-related cases or were otherwise involved in advocacy on behalf of detainees.”

Others, he said, “came to the department from law firms where other lawyers represented detainees.”

In naming Katyal and Daskal, Welch said both appointees had been careful not to overstep rules governing professional conduct.

He said Katyal, after joining the Justice Department, had “participated in litigation involving detainees who continue to be detained” at Bagram air base in Afghanistan. He said Katyal also has participated in litigation involving Ali Saleh Kahlah al-Marri, who was arrested in Illinois and accused of being an Al Qaeda sleeper cell agent.

Welch said Daskal had “generally worked on policy issues related to detainees” but that “her detainee-related work has been fully consistent with advice she received from career department officials regarding her obligations.”

In referring to all of the political appointees, Welch said that none “would permit or has permitted any prior affiliation to interfere with the vital task of protecting national security, and any suggestion to the contrary is absolutely false.”

Wait a minute.  Did one or more shriveled but still rule of law supporting gonad actually threaten to descend?  Quick, bring in somebody else….

In addition, Tracy Schmaler, a department spokeswoman, said Tuesday that “department attorneys are subject to ethics and disclosure rules as required under both department guidelines and the administration’s own ethics rules, which are the strongest in history.” She added that “it should be clear that fighting terrorism and keeping the American people safe is our No. 1 priority.”

That’s more like it.  Naturally, the right-wing nutjobs who dreamed up this little putsch couldn’t have been more delighted, or more theatrically outraged, at a pathetically weak response as that, and went on, and on.

Nevertheless, Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee, led by Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, said the Justice Department had not given a full accounting of who and how many top appointees might have conflicts.

Sessions said the issue was whether “the attorney general believes that treating terrorists like civilians enhances or damages our ability to gather crucial intelligence.” He said that issue could not be answered until the other seven names were released.

“It’s time for these policies to meet the light of day — and for the public to get the answers they deserve,” Sessions said.

Good job, LATimes.  And always give the last word to the scariest neoconfederate sore loser in the Senate, those types always have a lot to contribute to an informative discussion of human rights and such.  This genius article was typed by:


richard.serrano@ latimes.com

I think I ought to pour a little something and write to him.

UPDATE: (whatever unlikely replies will be eagerly appended….)

Dear Mr. Serrano,
Have you ever read the Constitution?  What about the Magna Carta?
Heck, did you ever watch Sesame Street?  Considering what you wrote
today about the flagrantly un-American attacks a discredited
neofascist like Liz Cheney made on not just the Obama DOJ, but the
entire idea of western jurisprudence, I can only conclude not.
I’ll type slowly for you…  We have, in those parts of the world that
are nominal democracies, what’s known as an adversarial system of
justice.  All alleged (do you know what that word means?) criminals
are entitled to legal representation, whether or not they are
citizens, and whether or not some chickenhawk nutjob has
extrajudicially pronounced them guilty.  This is kind of a big thing
and has been since 1215 or so, but  maybe you’ve been busy with other
things.
I know that those of you in the withered shell of our media are
desperately afraid of being called “liberal,” but when “liberal” means
not accepting medieval despotism, it would be sort of your duty as an
American to go ahead and risk the scarlet letter.  Who knows?  If such
a thing caught on, people might start reading newspapers again.
It’s worth a try, since the way you’re going about it is having the
opposite effect.
I only want to help.

Cocktailhag

Portland, Oregon

Reply

Serrano, Richard

to me

show details 2:58 PM (3 minutes ago)
Cocktailhag,
You say you will type slowly for me. Why don’t you not type at all.

Regards
Rick.

Boy, did he show me, I tell you.  I’m so glad I get to call him Rick.

31 Comments

  1. Pedinska says:

    Isn’t he sweet. Such a tender hide. Why I’d bet even the softest of toilet papers gives him a rash.

    And then you come along and harsh his navel gazing.

    You are such a brute, darling!

    • cocktailhag says:

      Especially after cocktail hour. Can you believe that? I always marveled at the arrogant tripe people would write to Glenn, but it seems that teasing such things out of these MSM types is ridiculously easy. My much more pointed (yes, that’s possible) reply finally seems to have given him a bit of writer’s block.

  2. nailheadtom says:

    The chattering of baboons makes more sense than this latest tantrum of yours. The issue has nothing to do with the “rights” of unlawful combatants, these POLITICAL APPOINTEES have experience representing unlawful combatants AGAINST the US government and have now been appointed to positions that require them to reverse that role. There are actually three things that are of interest here. First, who are these individuals and why haven’t their names been released by the administration that promised transparency? Second, are these appointments rewards for opposing the policies of the previous administration? Third, can attorneys like Jennifer Daskal be expected to perform the required duties of their government position after serving in an adverserial role earlier?

    The needle on your hypocrisy meter is right on F after all the yapping about the Bush administration axing political appointees in DOJ.

    • cocktailhag says:

      Unlike you, Tom, I do know a little about this, my father having been a criminal lawyer before he became a District Attorney. Lawyers represent, but by no means embrace, criminals all the time, regardless of their guilt, and they can move from defense to prosecution and back again without anyone questioning their fitness to serve at the bar. Or, it has always been that way, from the Magna Carta until Bush. Also, Bush did appoint his own political appointees to the US Attorneys’ offices, but found that even some of them weren’t fascist enough for him and dumped them. Apple, meet orange.

      • dirigo says:

        That’s the sticky wicket that seems to stick in Tom’s craw, ain’t it: that well-trained lawyers, hypocritical though it may seem, can, adroitly, argue a case from one side and then the other.

        Who would want a “Republican” or a “Democrat” lawyer?

        Who would want a political lawyer, like John Yoo?

        Not me, not in a million years; and I’m an independent who might see some merit on both sides, depending on which direction the shadow falls from my fence post on a Tuesday or a Thursday.

        No, I would like a lawyer who knows how to straddle – argue one side or the other – and let a judge decide, on the merits, without fear or favor.

        Let’s get back to that.

      • Jim Montague says:

        Well it seems that Fox News has obtained the names of the so-called Al Qaeda 7, and now takes joy in making their identities universally known. http://liveshots.blogs.foxnews.com/2010/03/03/exclusive-unknown-doj-lawyers-identified/
        Nothing can beat the experience of having your reputation ground into the gutter, so Fox can exploit the ratings surge and Liz Cheney can get some press stroking by people like Serrano.

        • cocktailhag says:

          Surprisingly, the FOX article was considerably fairer and more factual than Serrano’s, (oops, I mean my new friend “Rick.”) Clearly the only one left Fox is really gunning for is this Tony West, which is undoubtedly unrelated to his duskier hue, you know, and not much based on fact, either. Good thing Drudge and everybody have a new and way awesome-er story from the liberal media to trumpet instead.

    • ondelette says:

      First, who are these individuals and why haven’t their names been released by the administration that promised transparency?

      Jeff Sessions in particular, and actually anyone who wants to go through the congressional record and other documents, can find the names of all the political appointees. The names of lawyers who have represented people at Guantánamo is also not a secret. Using the two lists, people of intelligence quotients moderately above their shoe size can find out who the people are. The government didn’t publish this because it’s rubbish — known as McCarthyism.

      Second, are these appointments rewards for opposing the policies of the previous administration?

      No, only Republicans appoint people as vindictive rewards ;-}. Since when does advocating for a defendant in a federal trial constitute opposing the policies of the presidential administration? Do you know anything at all about how trials are done?

      Third, can attorneys like Jennifer Daskal be expected to perform the required duties of their government position after serving in an adverserial role earlier?

      The short answer is ‘yes’. The longer answer is how could Alan Greenspan serve as a regulator of businesses after being in an adversarial relationship to the SEC as a businessman? You aren’t making any sense. How can all the Republicans in the Senate be expected to be part of the government when they are adversarial to almost everything the Obama administration does? You appear to have never read any American history, American civics, or ever served on jury duty. I have. I guess you’d probably question whether or not I could ever drink a beer again, since I voted to convict a drunk driver.

  3. timothy3 says:

    Heh, heh.

    Cocktailhag,

    You say you will type slowly for me. Why don’t you not type at all.

    Ooh, good one. Interesting that he focused on the typing bit, as in,

    As stenographer to the Stars, I take my job seriously. To that end, no one–and I mean no one–is better prepared to write shit down better than me despite the fact, as I’ve heard some say (bizarrely!), that I are supposed to be a reporter.

  4. mikeinportc says:

    The Concern Troll of the Southland
    lol . How did I know you meant ol’ Huckleberry Sessions?

    “Sessions said the issue was whether “the attorney general believes that treating terrorists like civilians enhances or damages our ability to gather crucial intelligence.”

    Pure projection. People treat the honorable H. Sessions like a civillian, and receive no intelligence, therefore……..

    ” , these POLITICAL APPOINTEES have experience representing unlawful combatants people AGAINST the US improper imprisonment .

    Tommy, considering how many prisoners we’ve had, and how many have been released for lack of evidence, or outright proof of innocence, why do you assume any of them are guilty? The government has been wrong 99+% of the time. Why do you trust government so much?

    Kinda tough on ya when the riffraff can respond , eh Rick? No more just gratefully receiving the gift of knowledge propaganda from on high . Makes it harder to just mail it in. Might have to start committing some actual journalism. (Sucks!, but that’s what it seems to be coming to.)

    • cocktailhag says:

      Actually, from way up there in the North, you might not be aware that LA is the Southland in local media parlance, in the same way that Chicago is Chicagoland. I don’t have a handy or printable name for Sessions country, but give me a minute to think… That Rick is a piece of work, but he’s a product of, gasp, Hollywood, almost, which I find a bit worse.

      • timothy3 says:

        I don’t have a handy or printable name for Sessions country

        We already have a Rust Belt. How about Trailer Tunic?

        Or Cracker Barrel? No, no, that’s a cheap shot.

        How about Cracker Barrel?

  5. harpie says:

    Ha! I knew this thread would be fun! ;-)

  6. Jim White says:

    But, but, what if those lawyers actually touched one the eevil terrists? I mean, they could spread those jihadi germs all through the Department of Justice.

    And don’t be so sure your buddy Rick actually types. He might have that new-fangled voice to text stuff.

  7. Myrna says:

    Rick:

    Plaese contac me. I need to tell you somthing about tat condum what broke.

    luv
    myrna

  8. sysprog says:

    Did you see the last five paragraphs of the FOX NEWS story?

    http://liveshots.blogs.foxnews.com/2010/03/03/exclusive-unknown-doj-lawyers-identified/

    The Obama Administration is not the first to hire lawyers who represented or advocated for terror suspects.

    Pratik Shah, an assistant to the Solicitor General hired by the Bush Administration, was part of the WilmerHale team that put together arguments for the Boumediene v. Bush case.

    Trisha Anderson, an adviser in the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel who was also hired by the Bush Administration, was previously an attorney at Attorney General Eric Holder’s former firm, Covington & Burling, where she helped represent 13 Yemeni detainees.

    Varda Hussain, an attorney hired in 2008 with the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, was an associate with the Washington-based firm Venable when she helped represent three Egyptians being held at Guantanamo Bay.

    “Varda has spent over 500 hours in the past year fighting to bring due process to our clients,” a firm newsletter said in 2006.

    * * * * *

    OMG! It’s worse than we thought.

    It became the Dept. of JusticeJihad during the Cheney-Bush Administration!!!

    Somebody should ask Senators Grassley and Sessions why they didn’t raise a ruckus back then.

  9. sysprog says:

    One of the problems in Wednesday’s LATimes story was the failure to report the full (and easily googled) story about Tony West.

    Here’s what your friend Rick typed, about Tony West.

    http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-gitmo-justice3-2010mar03,0,7456369.story

    According to congressional sources, one of the other seven appointees is Tony West, an assistant attorney general who heads the civil division. In 2002, he was part of the California-based legal team that represented John Walker Lindh, the so-called American Taliban.

    These kinds of backgrounds and connections “raise serious questions about who is providing advice on detainee matters,” a group of Republican senators told Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr. last week.

    What Rick didn’t report was that Tony West’s work for “American Taliban” John Walker Lindh was discussed extensively during West’s confirmation hearing. It was the most notable thing on West’s CV.

    And then, after those discussions, Grassley and Sessions each voted “Yea” to confirm West. (There were only four “Nay” votes.)

    http://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=111&session=1&vote=00155

    * * * * *

    And now there’s more, in Thursday’s LATimes, from your friend Rick.

    Rick (and/or his editors) give no credit to FOX for creating and driving the story. Of course, since much of the “news” (see Tony West, as mentioned above, for instance) wasn’t actual news, maybe Fox didn’t deserve to be credited for breaking the story.

    But if you’re going to treat this whole thing as an actual news story, then you should give credit to Fox.

    Rick buries the lede, at the bottom of his third graf in Thursday’s story:

    http://www.latimes.com/news/nation-and-world/la-na-justice-conflicts4-2010mar04,0,1629399.story

    Some Justice Department officials during the George W. Bush administration also had done legal work for detainees.

    • cocktailhag says:

      Hmmm. That story is so full off dropped facts that I may have to dissect it later today. Notice that even winning a Supreme Court case (and with a conservative court) is no mitigating factor, nor are the outcomes, many of which are widely known, ever mentioned. I think it moves ol’ Rick a bit beyond pure stenography and into straight-up propaganda.
      Thanks for the link, and a little morning project.

  10. michlib says:

    I’ll bet “Rick’s” high school journalism teacher wants her etch-a-sketch back.

    ” Why don’t you not type at all “.

    And don’t not read the LA Times.

    Is it time to let him know that freedom of the press has nothing to do with drycleaning ?

    • cocktailhag says:

      I guess surviving all the layoffs and years of bankruptcy as the LAT pissed away its lucrative monopoly makes a guy a little cocky….. Maybe he studied journalism at the same school (s) Sarah Palin supposedly did.

  11. dirigo says:

    Approaching things from a slightly different angle, here’s a meditation on the supposed virtues of mumbling by Hollywood actors. They appear in public, at least in a role, to show the uncertainties of a character, the lack of trust in speech by the character due to some trauma, or, to appear as a “regular” person.

    It’s a question and has been for some time whether this is a good trend. This article raises the question, but the article is about make believe people

    Thinking of lawyers – real people – and whether they should be seen as hypocrites because they’ve been trained to argue both sides, should they also be seen as pompous asses – not “one of us” – because they might not mumble in court?

    Is that a virtue?

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2010-03-03/mumbling-wins-oscars/2/

    Watch out for that continuance …

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MdB3vk5V_FA

  12. Hyman Nabers says:

    Hello just wanted to give you a quick heads up. The words in your post seem to be running off the screen in Ie. I’m not sure if this is a format issue or something to do with web browser compatibility but I thought I’d post to let you know. The style and design look great though! Hope you get the problem resolved soon. Many thanks